My first fashion memory is… Being about six or seven and only wanting to wear plain white knickers. One day they were all in the wash and my mother had the audacity (!) to have some mint green ones clean for me. She was slightly exasperated when I wouldn’t put them on. I simply refused and she left me to get dressed in my own room. I just couldn’t wear these green knickers and I ripped them apart with my bare hands so I didn’t have to wear them.
My love for fashion started… As a child; I always loved role-playing and creating narratives through my clothes. I realised that it was the clothes – and the shoes and other accessories - that allowed me to dream and ever since I twigged that fact, I’ve never looked back.
I went through a phase… When I was at Sixth Form where I would spend all my Saturday day job earnings on designer things, so I’ve been wracking my brains but can’t place what the first item was. There was a Stella McCartney for Chloé t-shirt with a glitter ‘I love you’ logo, a Moschino Jeans mini skirt with long silky fringing that I wore on nights out, and of course there were shoes. My first pair of Miu Miu shoes were my first designer shoe purchase; they were burgundy patent kitten heel slingbacks with a holographic panel on the front and brogue detailing around it. I wore them until the leather cracked and my heart broke in two.
The first person whose style I idolised was… Kylie Minogue circa I Should Be So Lucky. As a child of the Eighties, Kylie playing Charlene on Neighbours was a pivotal influence. So much so that when we had a non-uniform day at school, I tried to recreate one of her outfits for my look that day, complete with rag-rolled curly hair and a microphone made out of a yoghurt pot.
It took me quite a few years to… Develop my personal style. I look back at what I wore in my early twenties and although I like to think I had taste and style, it was all a bit mismatched. Now it’s streamlined and a lot more edited When I was younger I just bought and wore anything I liked.
My best bargain ever was… A pair of eighties cone heel Gina shoes, purchased at a car boot sale for £1.25.
My best vintage purchase ever was… A Fendi crocodile belt which was pennies in a charity shop. I’m not a huge vintage shopper – when I was a student I had time to search for gems – but this was a real find. I’m still dreaming of uncovering an Hermès bag in a charity shop!
The hardest piece I’ve ever tried to get hold of… Was my Chloé ‘I Love You’ t-shirt. I think it was ’98 and I wanted it so badly – it was the perfect entry-level piece for a fashion-obsessed Sixth Former. My mum rang round boutiques across the whole country for me and finally found it in Newcastle. Now online shopping would make it so much easier, but the thrill of tenaciously searching for something beautiful made it so much more valuable to me.
The most extravagant thing I’ve ever bought… Was probably my wedding dress, although I have to admit, it was my parents who actually bought it. Spending four figures on a dress you only wear once is the absolute most frivolous thing one can do. It’s the lowest cost-per-wear ratio you could ever imagine but we all do it.
I’ve never had any purchase regrets… If I change my mind, I’ll take it back, or if I leave it too late then it will go to Vestiaire, eBay or a charity and I forget about it. Or maybe there have been regrets but I just erase the memory…
My shopping philosophy is… “Will I wear it when I’m sixty?” If I won’t, I don’t buy it
My favourite designer collection ever… Was Chloé, Spring/Summer 2004. I wish I had everything from it and would still wear it all now. The denim was so, so good
The most under-rated brand ever was… Meadham Kirchoff. I was reminded recently of the brand’s fast rise and rapid fall and it’s a shame - they could have reached further potential.
I look everywhere for inspiration… Especially when I’m planning shoots. I couldn’t pinpoint one person who I want to emulate or look like particularly. Making like a magpie and picking up tricks and tips everywhere is my method of being inspired.
If I could design anything, it would be… Shoes. Watch this space…
These days, I would never wear… Heels. I just can’t. I still have all my heels but they rarely get a look in as I just run around in flats these days.
The best-dressed woman in history was… Princess Margaret. Oh the diamonds! The gowns! The lifestyle!
My favourite era for style was… The sixties, because it chimes with my personal aesthetic and the look I like to emulate – black polo-necks, mini-skirts, lots of mascara – but also because of the huge leaps and bounds in innovation during the decade. Mini skirts, vinyl clothing, chainmail. It was the real birth of modern dressing.
The most stylish city is… London! We have it all here and I love it. From the grannies on the bus in Hackney wearing head-to-toe leopard print to our brilliant art and design students just starting out on their sartorial journey, through to sleek West Londoners and tweedy visitors to Bond Street. Our tribes and districts are brilliantly inspiring and forever vibrant.
The designer I wish was still around is… Elsa Schiaparelli. Apparently, my great grandmother was friends with her and had a collection of her designs so I would absolutely love to find out whether this was a family myth or true… and of course, I’d love to find out where the clothes went!
My proudest fashion moment is… When I was street-styled by The Sartorialist in Milan a few years ago. I was wearing a Dolce & Gabbana tweed shift dress (borrowed) over a Zara lace blouse (my own) with a pair of burgundy suede Manolo Blahnik shoes and was over the moon when he asked me for a picture.
My biggest piece of fashion advice is… To have fun with clothes! If it makes you happy, wear it.
My wardrobe would be empty without… Denim. I could probably downsize my clothing collection to a quarter of what I have now if I got rid of my jeans, denim dresses, jackets, shoes, tops and bags.
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